Colletti planting seeds in Florida

Colletti getting busy at GM meetings

Ned Colletti is at the general managers meetings this week in Naples, Fla., holding "introductory conversations" with player agents and teams as he tackles the task of upgrading the Dodgers.

Colletti said he has already made one offer to a free agent, but would not say to whom, or even whether the player was a Dodger in 2006 or from another club.

"I hope to make a couple more [offers] in the next couple days," he said.

Colletti is looking for two significant hitters and a front-line starting pitcher. With roughly $30 million to spend, he's expected to make a run at just about every big name out there -- outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee and Gary Matthews Jr. and pitchers Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt, etc. The only one he does not seem interested in is outfielder J.D. Drew, who opted out of the final three years of his Dodgers contract last week.

Colletti said there's a "lack of depth" to the pool of players available and he offered little optimism that a comparable player would be available through a trade.

"It's tough to make trades," he said. "You have to find a team that really has a surplus of offense and they would be looking for a pitcher in return and I don't know if we've got much pitching to spare," he said. "Those players are very difficult to acquire in the best of times."

Colletti said the shortage of big names will probably make it harder to duplicate his pre-emptive strike of last year, when he overpaid to sign free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal before the Winter Meetings opened in early December.

Free agents that the Dodgers seem to have the most interest in bringing back are outfielder Kenny Lofton and, possibly, first baseman Nomar Garciaparra.

Colletti said the team could announce a new manager for Triple-A Las Vegas "in the next few days." Among the rumored candidates to replace Jerry Royster is former Dodger Gary Carter. In other Minor League news, catching instructor Jon Debus, formerly on Jim Tracy's Major League coaching staff, will join former farm director Terry Collins' coaching staff with Orix in Japan.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.